Thursday, October 13, 2022

Students' test scores rising, union boss heads to trial, 65 earthquakes on Mauna Loa in 24 hours, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Academic proficiency in Hawaii’s public schools improves but lags pre-pandemic levels. Hawaii’s public school students are starting to climb out of the academic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with last year’s return to full in-person learning helping to push up test scores and other measures, according to the annual Strive HI report released Wednesday by the state Department of Education.  Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

Conservative Super PAC Jumps In To Hawaii Governors Race. You may have seen some unsolicited text messages recently that start something like this: “Are you done with corrupt politicians like Josh Green?” The text messages and the website they link to are part of a campaign by a new super PAC called Hawaii Conservatives, created by first-time GOP candidate Tim Dalhouse and longtime conservative strategist Joel Borgquist, who has worked on campaigns in Virginia and Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Candidates for governor go head-to-head on controversial issues of abortion, gun control. The candidates for governor are accusing each other of inciting fear and being misinformed on heated issues. As the front-runner, Democrat Josh Green has gotten aggressive on the abortion issue by attacking Republican Duke Aiona, who calls himself pro-life from conception to death, but says he respects the law giving a woman a right to choose. Hawaii News Now.

After years of delays, former union leader accused of misusing funds to head to trial. Three years after his arrest, a former union leader accused of corruption will finally get his day in court this week. The feds have charged former IBEW Local 1260 leader Brian Ahakuelo and his relatives with 70 counts of fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and embezzlement for misusing on union funds to pay for lavish salaries and perks. He’s also accused of rigging union votes to increase dues to pay for those salaries and benefits. Hawaii News Now.

Head of Hawaii’s biggest public workers union blames bureaucracy for hiring shortages. The Executive Director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, Randy Perreira, said city and state human resources systems need to be overhauled and modernized. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii to host start of global economic conference. The East-West Center in Manoa will host the informal senior officials meeting in December to kick off the 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference hosted by the U.S., according to an official with the U.S. Department of State. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents 5 and over urged to get updated COVID-19 booster. The Hawaii Department of Health recommends the COVID-19 bivalent boosters for everyone age 5 and older in the state. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Hawaii health officials report 1,047 new COVID-19 infections, 5 coronavirus-related deaths. The state’s average positivity rate declined to 5.6% compared with 6.3% reported the previous week, and back to about where it was on Sept 28. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

City wants to redirect funds from traffic fines. The Honolulu City Council wants to change where money from traffic fines ends up. The hope is to give more of it to county law enforcement. Currently, money from traffic fines goes to the state. KHON2.

Prep work for rail accelerates along Nimitz Highway. While businesses along Dillingham Boulevard brace for the start of utility relocation work, the process has already begun on the last leg of the project from Iwilei to Cooke Street. Hawaii News Now.

Rail ‘hammerhead’ crack reports overdue, incomplete. Two highly anticipated reports on the extent of hairline cracks in the city rail system’s overhead “hammerhead” supports — and what should be done about them — were due Sept. 30 but still are not complete after a series of extensions. Star-Advertiser.

Health department prepares as Navy set to drain Red Hill fuel lines. The Navy is preparing to “unpack” or drain the fuel lines at its Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility. It’s the first step in permanently draining the massive underground installation. Hawaii Public Radio.

A group of nonprofit agencies at the Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center will be getting a hefty infusion of cash over the next eight years. The program, managed by Partners in Development, is designed to end youth incarceration, was one of five big winners of grant money from the Kellogg Foundation’s global challenge for racial equality. Hawaii News Now.

DOH cites developer for storm water runoff at unpermitted construction site in Kailua. The state Department of Health has cited an Arizona-based developer for storm water runoff and lack of erosion control measures at an unpermitted construction site in Kailua. DOH said Wednesday it issued a notice of violation and order with a $14,000 penalty to Arcus Secured Loan Fund III LLC for failing to obtain a water pollution permit and discharging storm water runoff from the site on Old Kalanianaole Road. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Board: Nonresponsiveness is not an ethics violation. A non-response from government officials to emails and telephone calls isn’t necessarily a violation of the ethics code, the county Board of Ethics said Wednesday in denying a resident’s call to penalize 14 top officials for ignoring his warnings about what he saw as the danger of face masks and vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiʻi County received 44 applications for police chief. The Hawaiʻi County Police Commission has directed the county’s Human Resources Department to not release the identities of the applicants during this phase in the search process. Big Island Now.

‘Dredge everything’: Preferred plan is to remove almost the entire beach blocking Pohoiki Boat Ramp. The black sand beach at Pohoiki will be almost entirely removed in order to reopen the Pohoiki Boat Ramp, engineers confirmed Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

65 earthquakes at Mauna Loa in the past 24 hours. Earthquake activity continues to increase at Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano. Mauna Loa is not erupting, and experts said an eruption is not imminent. KHON2.

Staffing crisis forces hospital’s cancer center to turn away new patients. Kona Community Hospital has temporarily stopped accepting new patients in its medical oncology and chemotherapy infusion clinics, forcing those needing care to travel to Waimea, Hilo or Honolulu for treatment. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Voters To Decide On Removal Of $1,000 Cap For Civil Fines. The proposed charter amendment would give the County Council more flexibility to set violation penalties by ordinance. Civil Beat.

Update on West Maui Hospital to be presented in Council committee on Monday. The Maui County Council’s Human Concerns & Parks Committee will host a discussion Monday, Oct. 17, 2022 on the current status of the West Maui Hospital and Medical Center. Maui Now.

Kauai

Search ends for missing swimmer. Jaren Asalele, 19, of American Samoa, was last seen on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 8, swimming at Kalihiwai Beach on the North Shore when he became distressed. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

Little fire ants detected at Wailua River State Park. A new population of little fire ants in Wailua River State Park has been confirmed, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a statement on Wednesday. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

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